Follow Clear Air Plus on Facebook and Twitter for some informative posts about health and indoor air quality. The image below shows the company's most popular air purifier, "The Austin Air HealthMate Jr."
1. How did you first become interested in the topic of air purification?
I first became interested in the topic of air purification while living in one of the nation's most polluted cities: Fresno, CA. This city, located in California's central valley, is notorious for having some of the worst particulate pollution and ozone in the country. Unfortunately, most of the dirty air gets transported from the Bay Area, where it becomes trapped between the Sierra Nevada and Coastal ranges. For many of the Valley's residents, this negatively impacts their respiratory health. I remember growing up and seeing many of my fellow classmates with their inhalers. Incidentally, Fresno has one of the highest childhood asthma rates in the nation, with recent estimates indicating that one in every six children suffers from this disease. Thankfully, I never had any major problems, though always had some degree of sinus discomfort, as well as frequent bronchitis.
In 2002, while still residing in Fresno, I began my search for a quality air purifier for the home. Like so many people, I invested in an inexpensive store-brand model that really did not seem to produce any tangible results. I continued on with my search for an effective purifier, and visited a local dealer of higher-end HEPA air purifiers. After his demonstration of the various models, I wound up purchasing the IQAir HealthPro Plus and Austin Air HealthMate Jr. Within a week of use, I noticed a major difference in the home's air quality. For the first time in years, I could breathe out of both nostrils. In addition, my sleeping was much better with less instances of waking up during the night. I began recommending these products to friends and family, and was sending quite a few customers to the local dealer.
While this dealer served local customers only (at the time), I began to realize that there was a demand for such a dealer that could serve the entire country via internet. That's how www.cleanairplus.com was founded.
2. When it comes to choosing an air purifier for a home or business, what do you suggest that someone consider in figuring out what product might be a good fit?
Regardless of the situation, the most important factor when purchasing an air purifier is that it features a medical-grade HEPA filter and some form of activated carbon. Medical grade HEPA filtration means that the filter has a large surface area (usually over 30 sq ft) and filters particles down to .3 microns at the 99.97% rate. In addition, HEPA filters particles down to .1 microns at the 95% rate. HEPA eliminates airborne dust particles, pet dander, mold spores, pollen, and attached viruses. Activated carbon is specially treated to eliminate gaseous chemicals, tobacco smoke, and noxious odors. All models that we sell feature a medical grade HEPA filter, and all but three models (designed mostly for hospitals) contain generous amounts of activated carbon.
Another consideration is the type of contaminants that are in the air. Certain environments contain very high levels of particulates or chemicals, and therefore would benefit by the use of a model specifically designed for this purpose. Most models that we sell provide all-purpose filtration of a wide range of contaminants. However, if living in an environment with high levels of certain contaminants, such as formaldehyde off-gassing or airborne mold spores, it's always a good idea that the customer consult with our team of air purification experts to ensure that they are investing in a unit that will deliver effective results.
Certainly the size of the room is an important factor when determining which air purifier to purchase. For smaller-sized rooms (such as a bedroom), most environments would only require a small to mid-sized unit. For larger spaces (such as living areas), they would typically need a larger unit to ensure optimal air quality. The size of the unit also corresponds which the filtration capacity, as well as the CFM (cubic feet per minute). Smaller models typically feature less filtration per square footage, and utilize a fan that is not as powerful, while larger units contain a greater filtration surface area and a more powerful fan.
The mantra "you get what you pay for" especially applies to air purification. Lesser-priced models are simply ineffective as they contain minimal filtration. That's why our company exists--to offer only the top quality models that deliver genuine air cleaning results.
3. Why is indoor air quality so important--is it possible that many of our homes/offices have air quality issues that we're not aware of?
Indoor air quality is of utmost importance. According to a number of national organizations, including the American Lung Association and the EPA, studies have shown that the air quality in our indoor settings, including homes and offices, is more of a health concern than the air quality outdoors. With most of their time spent indoors, people can be exposed to high levels of pollutants, especially in areas with poorly designed, maintained, or operated ventilation systems, along with the presence of pollutant sources. In addition, there has been a large increase in the use of synthetic building materials and furnishings, as well as household cleaning, personal care, and pesticide products that contain potentially harmful chemicals. To make matters worse, in recent years, homes, offices, and other types of buildings have been made tighter to save on energy use and costs.
Sadly, most people are unaware of the risks of living in such an environment. Just because you can't see or smell the contaminants in the air doesn't mean that they don't exist. Rather, it's something that usually exists at levels that are oftentimes undetectable. Nevertheless, exposure to allergens or chemicals for long periods of time can have a negative effect on one's health. The health effects of poor indoor air can result in many symptoms, including throat irritation, sinus congestion, red eyes, coughing, wheezing, and respiratory illness.
4. How much maintenance do your products require in terms of replacing filters, etc?
Our products are exceptionally easy to maintain. Most importantly, all air purifiers offered by our company utilize long-lasting filters. For example, the Austin air purifier features an all-in-one filter rated to last five years under normal residential conditions. The IQAir and Amaircare models contain HEPA filters that last an average of three to four years, and activated carbon components that need to be replaced every two years on average. These units have a much longer filtration lifespan as compared to store brands, which typically require filter changes every few months. For all of our air purifier units, filter replacement is very easy, and all replacements ship with pictorial instructions.
5. What are HEPA filters, and why do you recommend them?
HEPA filters were first introduced by the US Government during World War II. They were seeking ways to protect researchers at the Manhattan Institute from radiation particles. During the 1950s through the 1980s, HEPA filtration was primarily used for industrial and commercial purposes. By the early 90s, brands like Austin Air and Amaircare began production of portable HEPA air purifiers. Almost immediately, their systems became very popular, especially within the allergy and asthma community. Nowadays, anyone can benefit from the use of a HEPA-filtered air purifier; after all, most people understand the relationship between breathing clean air and good health.
As previously mentioned, all of our air purifiers feature a medical grade HEPA filter. This ensures complete removal of airborne allergens and irritants, including fine dust, pet dander, mold spores, pollen, soot, and microorganisms. In addition, all of our models are expertly produced in the USA, Canada, or Switzerland using the best components available. All models that we offer come with five-year warranties as well. Above all, the representatives at Clean Air Plus are familiar with all product offerings, and are always happy to assist others in their search for the right air filtration system.